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Date

LORAIN COUNTY COURT

OF

COMMON PLEAS

LORAIN COUNTY, OHIO

TOM ORLANDO, Clerk

6/27/19

JOURNAL

ENTRY

John R.

Miraldi,

Judge

Case

No.

17CV1 93761

GIBSON BROS

Plaintiff

vs

INC

JACQUELINE

Plaintiffs Attorney

BOLLAS

Q_

CALDWELL

OBERLIN

Defendant

COLLEGE

JOSH M

MANDEL

Defendant's Attorney

Q_

JUDGMENT

ENTRY

Pursuant to Ohio

Ohio Revised

the jury's verdicts to judgment as follows:

Revised Code

Section 2315.18 (Compensatory Damages

in Tort Actions) and

Code Section 2315.21

(Punitive or Exemplary Damages) the Court hereby reduces

On

June

6, 2019,

the

jointly,

and

severally

parties

stipulated

and agreed

that Oberlin

College

would

be

vicariously,

liable for

any verdict

or judgment

rendered

against

Meredith Raimondo,

regardless of whether a separate verdict or judgment was entered against Oberlin College.

On June 7, 2019,

in the

$1,800,000.00

in

the jury returned

a compensatory damages verdict in

which

included $4,000,000.00

The jury

completed

awarded

R. Gibson

in non-economic damages and

specifying

Oberlin

R.

favor of David

further

and

amount

of $5,800,000.00,

economic

damages.

an interrogatory

Gibson

that

$4,800,000.00

of the $5,800,000.00 was

to David

against

College

awarded

emotional distress claim.

and

to

Meredith

David

Raimondo

Gibson

on

and

13,

R.

On June

the

against

libel

claim, and

that the

Oberlin

College

on

remaining

$1,000,000.00

was

the

intentional

infliction

of

2019,

the jury returned

a punitive damages verdict in

favor

of David R.

Gibson in the amount of $17,500,000.00.

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED,

and

DECREED that:

Judgment

of David

compensatory damages for economic loss in the amount of $1,800,000.00.

is

hereby

rendered

against

Defendants and

in

favor

R.

Gibson

for

EXHIBIT A

oOURTo?

A.S&

as

£

Judgment

is hereby

rendered

for

against Defendants

noneconomic

loss

in

in

favor

the

of David

R.

amount

of

Gibson

for

compensatory

($350,000.00 on the libel

distress claim)

damages

$600,000.00.

claim and $250,000.00 on the intentional

infliction of emotional

Judgment is

hereby rendered

against Defendants and

punitive damages

in

the amount of

$11,600,000.00

in

favor

of David

R. Gibson for

(two

times

the amount

the jury

awarded

to

the

plaintiff for compensatory damages in

accordance with

Ohio

Revised

Code Section 2315.21).

 

TOTAL DAMAGES

FOR DAVID

R.

GIBSON: $14,000,000.00

 

On June 7, 2019,

the jury returned

a compensatory damages verdict in favor of Allyn W.

Gibson

in the amount of $3,000,000.00 in non-economic damages and

jury completed an

interrogatory further specifying

that

$0.00

in

economic damages. The

of the $3,000,000.00 was

$2,000,000.00

awarded

to Allyn

W. Gibson

and

against

Oberlin

College and

Meredith

Raimondo

claim,

Oberlin College on the intentional infliction of emotional distress claim.

Allyn

and

that

the

remaining $1,000,000.00

was awarded

to

W.

Gibson

on the

libel

and against

One June

13, 2019, the jury returned

a

punitive damages verdict in favor of Allyn W.

Gibson in

the amount of $8,750,000.00.

 

IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and

DECREED that:

 

Judgment

is

hereby rendered

against

Defendants

and in

favor

of Allyn

W.

Gibson for

compensatory

($250,000.00 on the libel claim and $250,000.00 on the intentional

distress claim)

damages

for

noneconomic

loss

in

the

amount

$500,000.00.

infliction of emotional

of

Judgment is

hereby

rendered against

Defendants

and in

favor

of Allyn

W.

Gibson

for

punitive

damages

in

the

amount

of $6,000,000.00

(two

times

the

amount

the jury

awarded

to the

plaintiff for

compensatory

damages

in

accordance with

Ohio

Revised

Code Section 2315.21).

TOTAL DAMAGES

FOR ALLYN W.

GIBSON:

$6,500,000.00

On

Inc. in the amount of $2,274,500.00

June

7,

2019,

the jury

returned

a

compensatory damages

in economic damages.

verdict

in

favor of Gibson

an

Bros.,

The jury completed

interrogatory

further

specifying

that $1,137,250.00

was awarded

College

awarded

and

to

Meredith

Raimondo

on the

libel

claim,

Gibson Bros.,

Inc.

and

against

Meredith

to

Gibson

Bros.,

Inc.

and

against

Oberlin

and

that the

Raimondo

remaining

$1,137,250.00

was

on

the

intentional interference

with business relations claim.

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On June

13, 2019, the jury returned

a punitive damages verdict

in favor of Gibson Bros., Inc., on

the libel

claim only, in the amount of $6,973,500.00.

IT IS

HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED and DECREED that:

Judgment

is

rendered

against

Defendants

and

in

favor

of

Gibson

Bros.,

Inc.

for

compensatory

damages

for

economic

loss

in

the

amount

of

$2,274,500.00.

($1,137,250.00 on each claim:

libel and

intentional interference with business relations).

Judgment

is rendered

against Defendants

and

in favor of Gibson Bros., Inc.

for punitive

damages

in the amount of $2,274,500.00

(two times the

amount the jury awarded

to

the

plaintiff for compensatory damages

2315.21).

TOTAL DAMAGES

IT IS SO ORDERED.

VOL

cc:

PAGE

All

Parties

FOR GIBSON

in

accordance

with

Ohio

BROS.

INC.: $4,549,000.00

Revised

JoMr/R. Miraldi, Judge

IIIIIIIIIIIllllll

Code

Section

Date

GIBSON

Plaintiff

OBERLIN

Defendant

LORAIN COUNTY COURT OF COMMON

LORAIN

COUNTY, OHIO

PLEAS

TOM ORLANDO, Clerk

7/17/19

JOURNAL

ENTRY

John

R.

Miraldi,

Judge

Case No.

17CV193761

BROS

vs

INC

COLLEGE

JACQUELINE BOLLAS

Plaintiffs Attorney

Q_

JOSH

M

MANDEL

Defendant's Attorney

CALDWELL

JUDGMENT

ENTRY ON

AWARD

OF ATTORNEYS'

FEES &

LITIGATION EXPENSES

On

July

10,

2019

a

hearing

was

held

in

the

above

matter

to

determine

the

amount of Plaintiffs'

reasonable attorney fees.

On

June 13,

2019 the jury concluded

its

deliberations and

reasonable

returned

a

fees.

verdict awarding

The

the

jury

was

the Plaintiffs

instructed

determine

both punitive

prior

to

damages

and

if

attorneys'

deliberating

On

that

attorneys' fees were

awarded,

Court would

the amount.

June

27,

2019,

compensatory

the

on

Court,

July

and

10,

hearing

per

statutory

punitive damages

the

damage

caps,

to

judgment

and

2019

at

1:30 PM by separate entry.

reduced

the

scheduled

an

jury

verdict

attorneys' fees

for

Prior

to

Reconsideration,

the

hearing

on

July

10,

2019,

Defendants

filed

a

asking

the Court to reconsider

its June 27,

2019

ruling

Motion

applying

for

the

punitive

and

compensatory damages

caps

in

Ohio

Revised

Code

§§

2315.18

and

2315.21.

Defendants' Motion

for

Reconsideration

is denied.

Defendants

also filed a

written

Renewed

Motion

to

Continue

the

Hearing

on

Attorney

Fees

which

they

presented

on

the

record

prior

to

the

attorney's

fees

hearing.

The

Court

denied

Defendants'

motion to

continue

the

hearing

and

cited

the

reasons therefore

on

the

record.

expert

At

the

report

hearing,

Plaintiffs

of Attorney Dennis

presented

evidence in

the

form of the testimony

and

Landsdowne,

the

billing

invoices

and

advanced

costs

invoices

of the

Plaintiffs'

three

law

firms -

Tzangas,

Plakas,

Mannos

Ltd.;

Krugliak,

Wilkins,

Griffiths, &

Dougherty Co.,

L.P.A.;

and

James Taylor Co.,

L.P.A.;

as well

as the

billing

statements and

costs advanced

invoices

of Defendants'

counsel.

Defendants

presented

evidence

in

the

form

of

the

testimony

and

EXHIBIT A-1

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report

of Attorney

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Zagrans.

Each

exhibits outlining

party

also

briefed

their arguments.

the issue

of attorneys'

fees1

and attached

several

After considering

all

of the

evidence

presented

and

applicable

precedent the

Court

makes the following

ruling

regarding Plaintiffs'

attorney's

fees:

I.

Applicable

Standard

The

Supreme

Court of

Ohio

has

adopted

a

two-step

method

for determining

reasonable

attorney's

fees.

See

State

ex.

rel.

Harris v.

Rubino,

2018-0hio-5109,

If 3

(Ohio

2018)

(citing

Bittnerv.

Tri-Cty. Toyota,

58

Ohio

St.3d 143,

145

(Ohio

1991).

The

analysis

begins

by

multiplying

a

reasonable

hourly

rate

by

the

number

of

hours

reasonably expended.

Id.

This

"lodestar"

number "provides an

initial

estimate

of the

value of the lawyers'

upward

or

downward

services."

id.

by

applying

Next,

the

the Court

listed

factors

("Ultimately,

what

factors

to

apply

and

what

amount

Court's]

sound

discretion.").

can adjust

the lodestar

number

in

Prof.

Cond.

R.

1.5(a).

Id.

of fees to

award

are

within

[the

Because

of the overlap

of the

lodestar calculation and

the

Prof.

Cond. R.

1.5(a),

a

Court,

in

its

relevant factors

discretion,

are

may choose

not

to

adjust the

subsumed

by the lodestar calculation.

v. Grimsley,

197 Ohio App.3d

167,

173 (Ohio

Ct. App.

11th

lodestar number when the

See Id.

at

Dist.

2011)).

12

(citing

Miller

Ultimately, there

is

no requirement

that the fee

be linked

or

proportionate

to

the

underlying

award.

See

Welch v.

Prompt

Recovery Servs.,

Inc.,

2015-Ohio-3867, tf

16

(Ohio

Ct.

App. 9th

Dist.) ("The

Supreme Court has

refused

to

establish

a

rule

linking

reasonable

H16

attorneys'

fees

is not

to

the underlying

monetary

award.");

A

see

also Grimsley,

at

("Proportionality

related

to

synonymous with reasonableness.

on

the case

and

'reasonable'

the

fee must

amount

be

of the judgment awarded.").

the work reasonably expended

not merely to

II.

Application

of Law

Plaintiffs

filed

an

Application

for Attorneys'

amount

between

$9.5

million

and

$14.5

million.

Fees

and

Litigation

Expenses

This

proposed

amount

is

based

in

on

an

a

lodestar amount of $4,855,856.00

and

a

multiplier of 2 to

3 times the

lodestar.

Plaintiffs'

counsel also

believes the Court should

award them $404,129.22

in

litigation expenses.

1

On

July 9,

2019,

Plaintiffs filed

an

Application

for Attorneys'

Fees

and

Litigation

Expenses with

exhibits,

and

on

July

12,

2019,

Defendants

filed their

Brief

in

Opposition

to

Plaintiffs

application

with

exhibits.

Plaintiffs'

also

filed

a

hereby denied.

Motion

for

Leave

to file

a

reply

brief

instanter

on

July

15,

2019,

but

that motion

is

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Defendants

requested that the

Court

not award fees, but if it does,

to

award

fees

only

related

to

that were

not

expert

opined

Plaintiffs'

permitted

successful

claims,

and

to

testify at

the

trial.

that

a

reasonable

attorneys'

fee

to

exclude

any fees

Defendants'

counsel

related

to experts

and

Defendants'

would be

between $2,000,000.00

and

$2,250,000.00

and

that

the

combined

litigation

expenses

should

be

reduced

to

$241,247.84.

(Ex.

2 to

Defs. Brief in

Opposition to Pltfs.

Application).

 

A. Attorneys' Fees

a. Reasonable

Hourly Rate

The

community,

Harris,

at

H

reasonable

hourly

rate

"[

]

is

the

prevailing

market rate

in the

relevant

given

the complexity of the issues

and the experience

of the attorney."

See

4

(internal citations

omitted).

Plaintiffs

presented

evidence

of hourly rates

for their attorneys and paralegal/support staff that

ranged

from $675.00

per hour on the

high

end

low

and

per

$115.00

hour.

per hour

an

on the

low

end, creating

hourly

an

average

for

end

hour.

hourly

attorneys

rate

of

and

on

$395.00

paralegals/support staff ranged

the

Defendants'

from

average

rates

the high

per hour on

average hourly rate of $250.00

$400.00

and

$100.00

Court

end, creating

per

The

hereby

finds

that

a

reasonable

average hourly rate

in this

community,

given

the

complexity of

the

issues and

experience of the attorneys handling the case,

is

$290.00

per hour.

b. Hours

Reasonably Expended

Next

the

properly billed to

Court

a client

must

calculate

the

hours

reasonably

expended.

See

are also

not properly billed to

an adversary.

Hours

Id.

at ^

5.

not

In

calculating

the hours

reasonably

expended,

it follows that the

Court

must exclude

"[

]

hours

unreasonably

expended,

e.g.,

hours

that

were

redundant,

unnecessary,

or

excessive

in

relationship to the work done."

Grimsley,

at

14.

In sum,

Plaintiffs tallied

14,417 hours of billed

hours

Plaintiffs

argued that

all

of their

hours

were

reasonable,

in

this matter.

At the

hearing

and

referenced

the

fact that

Defendants'

counsel

- who

did

not

bear

the

burden

of

proof

- tallied

15,626

hours

(1,209

more

billed

hours than Plaintiffs'

counsel).

 

Defendants

argued

that

Defendants'

counsel's

hours

were

not

relevant

to

the

reasonableness

of

Plaintiffs'

counsel's

hours

simply

because

Defendants'

counsel

was

not

seeking

to

have

their attorneys'

fees

awarded.

The

Court fails

to

understand

the

distinction,

are

subject

particularly given

to the

the fact that both

standard

reasonableness

Defendants'

and

of

Prof.

Cond.

Plaintiffs'

R.

1.5(a).

counsel's fees

Court's

The

lodestar analysis

is

not

as

a

helpful

reference

prepared

for

and

tried

limited

point

to

to

a

comparison

lodestar

case.

with

Defendants'

because

also

fee

bills,

it just serves

counsel

Plaintiffs'

the

analysis

Defendants'

that

the

same

Defendants

asserted

i

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counsel's

Court

F.Supp.3d

longer

invoices

in

utilize

block-billing,

See

a

practice

recently criticized

Tridico

v.

Dist

by

the Supreme

235

no

This

of Ohio

100,

grant

Rubino.

109

Rubino, at

In

7 (citing

the

Of Columbia,

that it "will

(D.D.C.

2017).

Rubino,

that

Supreme

Court stated

time

attorney-fee

applications

include

block-billed

entries."

appears

at

first

glance to

be

a

bright-line

rule,

but

the Supreme Court's

citation of

Tridico,

[i.e.

that

and

are

the Court's

on

block-billed]

a

case

later statement that "[applications failing to

risk denial

in

full",

leaves

the door

open

criteria

for a trial Court to

its' discretion, whether any block-billed time

meet these

determine,

by case basis and in

renders

concern

all

in

or

part

of an attorney fee unreasonable.

both Rubino and Tridico was that certain

See

Id.

(emphasis

added).

The

methods of block-billing

- generally

those

that

involve

large

chunks

of

time

(more

than

5

hours),

and

multiple

tasks

(particularly

unrelated

tasks)

-

may

render

the

Court

unable

to

determine

the

reasonableness

of the

hours

expended

on

the case.

See

Rubino,

at

6-9;

see also

Tridico,

at 109-110.

was

But

here,

the Court has

not filed

until

November

no

such

concern with

Plaintiffs' hours.

Though the

2017, Plaintiffs'

counsel's invoices

reflect

that

this

case

case

began for Plaintiffs in April

of 2017.

After the complaint was filed,

nearly every phase of

the case was

vigorously

contested, including

the

trial

which

encompassed twenty-four

days

over

the course

of

nearly six

weeks.

Plaintiffs'

counsel's

billing

invoices

are

reflective of, and

consistent with,

a case of this magnitude.

it

Furthermore,

is not

possible to

the

Court finds that due to the

time

nature of claims at

punitive

issue

damage

in this case, claims (or

separate the

spent on recoverable

related

litigation

expenses

for experts)

from non-recoverable punitive

damage

claims.

See

Bittner, at

145.

The

Court therefore

finds

that Plaintiffs' counsel's

14,417

billable

hours were

hours reasonably expended on the

case.

c. Calculation of the

Lodestar

hour)

Applying

the

above,

Plaintiffs'

counsel's

reasonable

hourly

rate

times

the number of hours

reasonably

expended

(14,417)

equates

amount of $4, 1 80,930.

($290.00

to

a

per

lodestar

d.

Application

of the

Factors for Enhancement or Reduction

Having

calculated

the

lodestar should

be

reduced

Prof.

Cond.

R.

1

.5(a).

Ohio

lodestar number,

the

remaining

issue

is whether or not the

or multiplied

Prof.

Cond.

for enhancement based

on

R.

1

.5(a)

provides

in

relevant

the factors

in

Ohio

part:

the factors to

be

considered

in

determining the

reasonableness of a fee

include the following:

(1) the

time

and

labor

required,

the

novelty

and

difficulty of the questions

involved,

and the

skill requisite to

perform the

legal

service

properly;

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(2) the

likelihood,

if apparent to

preclude

the

that

other employment by the

client,

the

acceptance

lawyer;

particular employment will

of the

(3) the fee

customarily charged in the locality for similar legal

services;

(4) the amount involved and

the

(5) the time limitations

imposed

results obtained;

by the client or by the circumstances;

(6) the

nature

and

length

of the

professional relationship with the client;

(7)

the

experience,

reputation,

performing the services;

and

ability

of

the

lawyer

or

lawyers

(8) whether the fee

is fixed

or contingent.

The

parties

strongly

debated

counsel believes

the lodestar should

the

appropriateness

of

a

multiplier.

be

multiplied

2

to

3

times, which would

Plaintiffs'

result

in

a

total

fee

between $8,361,860

and $12,542,790 (using

the Court's

Paragraph

C above).

Plaintiffs'

argument

for

enhancement

lies

in

lodestar

amount in

the

application of

factors (1),

(4), (7),

and (8).

Defendants

believe

the

Court should

not

utilize

a multiplier because

the relevant

1 .5(a) factors are

subsumed

Supreme Court's decision

in

by the

Perdue

lodestar analysis

and based

on

v.

Kenny A.

ex re! Winn,

559 U.S.

the United States

542 (2010).

In

Perdue,

enhancements

in

the

the

Supreme

context

Court

of a federal

issued

civil

a

decision

rights

case

that

addressed

and 42

U.S.C.A.

lodestar

§ 1988.

fee

In

Perdue

and

its progeny,

the

United

States

Supreme

Court opined that

the

lodestar

amount

is

presumptively

reasonable

and

that

enhancements

(or

multipliers)

should

not

be

(citing

'strong

based

on factors that are

v.

accounted

505

for

U.S.

in

the

lodestar

(1992)

analysis.

("We

Id.

at

552-553

a

City of Burlington

Dague,

557,

562

the

have

fee

established

[

].")

presumption' that the

lodestar

represents

"reasonable"

(internal

citations

omitted).

Recently, the

Supreme

Court of Ohio

accepted

a

limited

appeal2

on

the

issue

of fee enhancements or multipliers

in

Phoenix Lighting

Group

LLC v.

Glenlyte

Thomas

Group

LLC,

Ohio

S.Ct.

Phoenix has

been

set for an oral

Case

No.

2018-1076,

2018-0hio-4092

argument on

September

10, 2019.

This

(Ohio

Court cannot

2018).

speculate

as to the future

holding

or rationale of Phoenix.

In

Rubino,

less than

one year

2

Specifically,

the

proposition

of law accepted

for appeal

states:

"Because

there is

a

strong

presumption

that the

loadstar [sic]

method

yields

a

sufficient attorney fee,

enhancements

should

be

granted

rareiy and

only where

the

applicant

seeking

the

enhancement

can

produce

objective

and

specific evidence

that an

enhancement

is

necessary to

compensate for a factor

not

already subsumed

within

the

Court's

loadstar

calculation.

(Perdue v.

Kenny A., ex rel.

Winn,

559

U.S.

542

(2010),

followed.)

ago,

the

Supreme Court of Ohio

cOHSLo?

-i

8

>;

v.' omo'^S

considered

the appropriateness of a

lodestar multiplier.

See Rubino, at

12.

It

follows

then,

that

the

Court

in

its

discretion can

adjust

the

lodestar amount

upward

or downward,

if the

1.5(a)

factors are

not entirely

subsumed

within the

lodestar calculation.

Here,

the

Court

has

determined

that

not

all

of the factors

are

entirely subsumed

within

the

lodestar calculation

precluding

enhancement.

Here,

factor (1)

-

the time

and

labor required,

to perform

the

the

novelty and

difficulty of the

questions involved, and

the

skill

requisite

legal

service properly,

while

a component

of the

lodestar calculation, it

was

not

entirely subsumed by

it.

The case

presented extraordinary

challenges

for the

plaintiffs.

Similarly,

factor

(7)

- the experience,

reputation,

and ability

of the

lawyer or

lawyers

performing

the services -

was

a component

of the lodestar

calculation.

But

when

charged

considered

in

the

with other

relevant

factors

such

as factor

(3)

- the fee customarily

and the

locality for similar legal services,

factor (4) - the amount involved

results obtained;

and

factor (8)

- whether the fee is fixed

or

contingent,

the

Court

believes

a

multiplier of one

and

a

half (1

.5) times

the

lodestar calculation

is appropriate

and

necessary.

The

Court therefore finds that the

reasonable attorneys' fees.

Plaintiffs'

should

be

awarded $6,271,395.00 in

B.

Litigation

Expenses

In

addition

to

attorneys'

fees, Plaintiffs'

also

seek $404,139.22

in

litigation

expenses.

excessive

Defendants and their expert

and that

several categories

believe

are

not

Plaintiffs'

properly

proposed expenses are

includable

as

expenses.

Defendants

believe

the proper amount of

litigation

expenses

total

$241

,247.84.

This Court

requested

expenses

agrees

by

that

the expenses

In

should

be

limited,

albeit

not to the

Court

extent

Defendants.

calculating

the amounts

fees,

focus

below, the

groups,

included

for discovery transcripts,

witness

video discovery,

trial

transcripts,

mediation

services,

expert

witness

fees,

filing

fees, travel

for

Marvin

Krislov's

deposition,

and

process

server

fees.

The

Court

makes

the

following

ruling regarding

each

Plaintiffs' firms' litigation

expenses: